Monday, March 19, 2012

The Chameleon and the Crickets

My good friend, Sharon, shared a story from her classroom recently.  An amazing elementary teacher, she had a chameleon in her room for the students to observe and care for.  Well, one day they made quite a memorable observation!  It was feeding day, which meant live crickets were placed in the tank.  The chameleon began enjoying his meal.  He had a cricket partially in his mouth when another cricket took notice.  Well, that chameleon evidently did not know whose friend he was trying to devour.  Apparently, the bystander cricket had a great attachment to the one being consumed.  This cricket grabbed the other one with its mouth and began to pull, trying to pull it from the chameleon's mouth.  He pulled and the cricket gulped harder.  Sharon described it as quite a tug-of-war.  The chameleon would gulp and swallow, but then the cricket warrior would grip and pull even harder.  Finally, the chameleon surrendered his meal and turned to find another victim as the two cricket friends limped the other direction.

As Sharon relayed this story, I began to imagine us as the crickets.  You know...fellow Christians...brothers and sisters in Christ.  In this illustration, Satan is the chameleon.  He is the one trying with all his might to destroy and devour us.  He is as real as the chameleon the kids watched that fateful day.  And left alone, just like that cricket, we are easier to devour.  God is so smart!  He knew we would need each other.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 - 10 says, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:  but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."  In other words, there is no one around to pull him out of the chameleon's mouth!  Satan, the chameleon, enjoys when we are tempted and fall into sin.  Galatians 6:1 - 2 states, "Brethern, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."  Yes, that second cricket could have been dessert for the chameleon.  However, he jumped in to save his friend.  That is what we are called to do.  If a friend is struggling with something...sin, burdens, life...whatever, we are called to help them bear those burdens.

Do you have brother or sister stuck in the chameleon's mouth?  Pull with all your might until, to the glory of God, they are free and walking in His light again!  If you are the one stuck, hang on...your friends are coming!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lessons from the Playground

Do you remember see-saws?  Little kids today may not.  I'm sure they have been removed from most parks and playgrounds because they pose a safety risk.  They have probably been replaced with something boring and safe like rubber-coated balance beams.  But, anyway...back to see-saws.  Remember the challenge of finding just the right balance with the person on the other end?  Remember being the heavier kid and having your teeth jarred when you crashed to the ground?  Remember being the lighter kid who got stuck in the air with no chance of getting down unless the big kid on the other side jumped off.  And then your teeth got a jarring!  Did you ever try to stand in the middle of a see-saw and balance it yourself?  Now that's tough!  But, that's what Jesus does for us.  If God's mercy and grace are on one end of the see-saw and his wrath and justice are on the other, which end do you think should be weighted down on the ground permanently?  If we got what we deserved, the little kid, Mercy, would be stuck in the air forever.  But, thank God, Jesus is in the middle constantly keeping the balance.  Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."  Did you catch that...justified?  Brought back into balance, perhaps?  Through Jesus I have access to God's grace.  Without him, I would be stuck down in God's wrath and justice.  I am so glad Jesus is with me on the see-saw of life. 

(Enjoy the illustration...just remember there is a reason I like to write and not draw.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Confessions of a Crazy Lady

Some of you know that this past school year has taken its toll on me.  Soon after school started, I began experiencing some health problems...chest pains, shortness of breath, goofy vision stuff, ringing in my ears...basically feeling like I was falling apart.  In the past three months, I have had a heart catheterization, an MRI of my brain, and an ultrasound of my carotid arteries.  The good news...I have a heart and a brain...and they are both fine!  (And the arteries of a nineteen-year-old, according to my cardiologist.)  The bad news is that the doctors cannot explain the problems, except to say maybe it is stress.  So, what do I do about that???  There is no surgery to fix that problem!!  Or is there?  This is where the confessions start...

...The surgery I need for this problem is an Attitude Transplant.  Yes, my pains and symptoms have been real.  And, yes, the doctors may still decide there is a medical answer for some of it.  However, having these physical ailments should not have caused the mental despair that I have felt.  What happened to my joy and hope?  The devil is real and he has really been working on me!  I am not sure how my family and friends have put up with "Woe-is-Me" over the past few months.  So, I have decided that I am going to get out the scalpel (or maybe the sword of the Word) and cut out the dead, decaying, rotten stuff.  I am removing the negative thoughts and stitching in some positive.  I still want to explore new employment ideas, while operating on my eyes to make them see the job I have as a blessing for now.  But I know I cannot do this surgery.  I am praying that the Great Physician will operate on me and heal my tired and tangled spirit. 

After surgery comes recovery.  For my recovery, I am self-prescribing a huge helping of HOPE!  We had a wonderful Sunday School lesson today on the subject.  First Peter 3:15 says to, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that ask you a reason of the hope that is in you..."  The question was asked in class if we are living out of our faith in a way that even shows others we have hope?  Pay attention here...more confession!  I have certainly not been living in a way that would make someone want to know about my hope.  Rather, most people would ask me why I am so hope-LESS.  So, when the job gets the best of me and there is too much month at the end of the money or the blocks on the calendar are too small to fit in everything I need to do...I am going to stop for some recovery time.  I will remind myself of the what hope really means.  It is the promise that something better is coming after I go through all the stuff this world wants to dish out.  God has my back.  He knows the plans that only He can have for me.  And that plan ends with Heaven!  So, nothing else should really matter.     

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thanks for stopping by...

Welcome to my blog!  After lots of encouragement and technical support from my wonderful husband, I have decided to give this a try.  As my profile states, I am currently a middle school teacher.  But, deep down in my heart, I think I want to be a writer when I grow up.  Either that or one of those people who get to swim with the whales and dolphins at Sea World.  I guess trying my hand at writing is a more realistic...unless one of you has connections at Sea check back often and see if anything out of my mind hits home with you.  See ya!